What is the point of working all your life?
Feeling stressed? Feeling burned out? Wondering what is the point of working all your life? I really don’t think there is a point in working all your whole life so let’s look at what you can do about it!
Here’s the thing. People these days are stressed with working life. This is a fact. They are also stressed with life in general. There are several reasons for this that I will get on to shortly but it’s painfully obvious that working life is putting a big strain on most people’s lives when you talk to people.
There are people in well paying prestigious professions like doctors, lawyers and dentists that hate their jobs. Also many relatively well respected and paid middle-class careers like pharmacists, engineers, and social workers have workers that absolutely hate their occupations. Not to mention careers like working in sales. Many people simply hate being employees.
Sure there are people who absolutely love their jobs. They usually work in a field that is their passion and they dedicate their lives to their careers. That is one of the big choices you have to make in life if you don’t want to feel like working your life away. Dedication to career. There simply isn’t enough time to have a fulfilling, full-time career (not just a job), a family and time-intensive satisfying hobbies.
Sure they can be managed simultaneously to some extent, but something is going to wind up half-assed. Think of the stereotypical family with a stay-at-home mom and a distant father that only comes home from the office to eat his dinner and sleep (these days the roles can obviously be switched, but you get the example).
The father might actually love his career, but this kind of situation will without a doubt lead to resentment from the wife and the kids towards the father. In the best-case scenario the stay-at-home parent is happy with the situation and there won’t too much resentment between the parents but either way they both have to compromise between career and family.
Now if both parents go to work (in jobs they don’t like) when the kids are young and try to have hobbies of their own somethings gotta give. Either the parents find a way to compromise or they end up splitting up due to resentment. The tragedy is that this can lead to even more stress as you now likely have a shared custody situation which makes planning life that more difficult. Especially when the new partners come into the picture.
But I digress. Let’s look at some of the reasons and factors why people hate working these days so much to figure out if there’s actually any point in working your whole life.
The demands of work
The reason most people can’t truly enjoy their careers is that working life is too demanding to have a balanced life without stress.
Even if you like the field you are in, the working hours probably take most of your day, leaving you only a few hours to have quality time doing whatever it is you love doing. That is if you have the energy.
Studies show that overworking is more common and even expected in many positions these days. Also, digitalization has lead to a situation where many employees are expected to answer emails and calls with their smartphones even from their home, outside office hours. Especially if they are looking to move forward in their career.
Work is too demanding in general. It’s very common there is too little time to complete all the tasks required by your job. Many positions are not filled when an employee retires and the tasks are assigned to other employees due to financial reasons.
The introduction of the work and workplace to new employees in many companies is either nonexistent or inhumanely short. This can lead to extreme stress even on the most diligent worker. Studies show that it takes on average three to six months to get accustomed to a new job. Sometimes even longer if the job is exceptionally demanding and complicated.
If you are not given enough adjustment time, this can lead to extreme stress and sub-par performance which can, unfortunately, lead to getting fired. In the worst-case scenario you might end up with burnout.
Working hours are also too long. The average American works about 40 hours per week, as does most Europeans. This is the typical 8-hour working day on weekdays. The problem with these averages is that they don’t take in to account all the overtime people put in on their spare time without compensation.
Of course, there are also people working 50, 60 or 70 hours a week. And the sad part is many of them do this at two (some even three) different jobs and still barely make by since the minimum wage these days is not enough to live or raise a family.
To most people, even 40 hours is simply too much work to truly enjoy life. It means you have to give up on something important to you and choose to rest every now and then. A six-hour work day or four days workweek of around 30 hours would be much more humane in many fields.
But wouldn’t that lead to a decrease in productivity? Actually, in experiments conducted in Sweden, they found out that shorter work week actually yielded superior productivity in jobs requiring lots of thinking and creativity. The obvious reason for this is the fact that thinking and creativity are highly dependent on motivation and low fatigue. So in intellectual work (which most positions are these days), more hours don’t equal better results and productivity.
In many countries, the holidays are very short. I remember reading that the average American has about two weeks completely from work each year. Here in Finland, we have around 5 weeks, which still feels too little most of the time. It’s OK for the summer but in all honesty, you should have a week off every couple of months to keep your sanity.
Combining work and family can be tough. Especially in situations where both parents are career-oriented. If both parents are working long days, family life can get very stressful very fast. Both parents will have to pretty much accept the situation and compromise by giving up most of their leisure activities.
It’s no wonder divorce is very common these days, especially after having children. It’s also natural for every adult to strive for financial security on their own. This requires work experience and you can’t really have a long absence from work in your resume if you wish to attract the interest of employers.
All I do is work and sleep
I got the idea to write this post from the fact that sometimes I have felt is all that I do is work and sleep. And maybe catch some chow every now and then.
The whole reason I started this whole online endeavor was to eventually work less. Not to quit working, but to work less.
The thing is, we are individuals. Our stress coping skills, activity levels, passions, and life goals differ vastly. What is the perfect fulfillment of every life goal to one person is the other persons’ absolute hell.
It’s just stupid how most people try to force them into the same mold that is seen as the golden standard by society even though there are more options available in the free world than ever.
From a societal point of view, it would be perfect if you had a decent paycheck, so you can pay your taxes and keep the economy running by consuming all sorts of useless commodities you think you need because someone said so.
It would also be perfect if you had a few kids because in most western societies there are more old people and not enough young people and children to take care of them by paying taxes or direct fees to companies that run old folks’ homes and hospitals. Since, as you know, that’s where old people end up these days when they can’t function on their own anymore and no-one can be bothered to take care of them.
And it would be perfect you worked as long as possible as hard as possible since any downtime will make you a burden to society.
People want to fulfill their true passions through hobbies if their career and family isn’t what they truly strive for and love to do. There just isn’t time. Things like pets, music, sports, meditating, spirituality, gaming, creating online businesses, etc. can be very time-consuming.
The problem is that if you don’t have the time to do your true passions you will end up feeling resenting all parts of your life.
The stereotypical example would be a person who works a full-time job in a profession that doesn’t give him/her real satisfaction and decides to have children against his/her own true desire out of social pressure from the spouse, family and the society in general.
Then the person has to give up on their true passions in exchange for things seen as chores. Sure, you can grow to like or even love the situation but let’s be honest, we all know people who are barely clinging to sanity in a situation like this. This might even be you.
These kinds of situations are where divorces and mid-life crisis’ live.
You have to do something
I sometimes fantasize about winning the lottery and quitting my job and my online business and even cutting out all my existing ties and responsibilities, just to chill out and relax. I bet most of us do. Deep down I know this would be very bad for my confidence, health, relationships and to everything that really matters in life.
You see, the thing is, you have to do something. You need a purpose to get out of the bed and get going. The problem is that to too many, going to work isn’t a meaningful purpose. It doesn’t give the sense of accomplishment and joy that working on something you love can give you.
Procrastinating your life away is really not the answer. Just ask any depressed young man stuck in their home in front of a computer wasting their life away.
The obvious reason for most people working their whole adult life is quite simply a financial necessity. You have to pay the bills and eat something after all.
Alternative to working 9 to 5
Unless you have the potential to become a rocks star or the next Elon Musk I suggest you find an alternative to the 9 to 5 as soon as possible. I’m sure you are not interested in working your life away for somebody else since you are reading this article.
Information technology is the career of the future. The money is on the internet. There are a few ways you can learn to leverage the internet to earn an income.
You can become a YouTube content creator. You can learn how to use cryptocurrencies to make money. You can offer writing services to bloggers and magazines.
The thing is that all those require active work pretty much constantly. I strive for a somewhat passive income. There isn’t such a thing as truly passive income, but there are differences in how much you need to invest time for maintenance.
For example in YouTube constant fresh content can make or break a channel. You have to keep in the feed or you will lose views and rankings.
That’s why I chose SEO (Search Engine Optimization) based on content creation/blogging combined with affiliate marketing as the business model for my online business.
So what is the point of working all your life? There isn’t one. The point of life is to help others and enjoy the world without causing harm to other people, animals or the planet. If your job isn’t true to these goals there really isn’t any point in working all your life.
Doing nothing isn’t the answer either, so find something you love and help other people and work hard on it. That’s the point of working all your life. It just won’t feel like working.
If you have any questions or just need some friendly advice, don’t hesitate to drop a comment. I answer every single comment I get.
Till the next time!